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Review of West Lothian Strategic Action Plan: final report to Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian


West Lothian Strategic Action Plan (WLSAP) aimed to provide a three-year programme of actions to help the West Lothian economy ‘back on the growth track’. The evaluation aimed to provide an interim three-year review to: map the process; evaluate project delivery; and make recommendations.


The methodology consisted of: a desk-based review of relevant documentation; consultation with key personnel at ‘operational’ level; interviews with project customers and intermediaries; and a review process with the client group.


The WLSAP has progressed well towards achieving its objectives and was implemented with high levels of commitment. The employment targets for public and private sector jobs both achieved over 85% of the total number of jobs sought. WLSAP progress was subject to comprehensive monitoring within a framework, allowing for regular management reporting. Local stakeholders and partners worked closely and resources were committed appropriately. Highlights that, with hindsight, the West Lothian economy has been resilient and attracts investment. Considers whether there should have been an earlier review of the West Lothian economy and questions the additionality of the Plan. Highlights problems concerning the nature of the response, the model adopted for development and delivery, and the resourcing of the WLSAP.


For future programmes, recommends that partners should: begin with a shared agreement; allow sufficient evidence-gathering upfront; avoid launching initiatives which take too long to put activity on the ground; make greater use of small working groups; delegate control of budgets and related operational decision making to a low enough level for efficiency. Considers that once the plan was adopted, the bar for approving projects should have been lowered and concerns over displacement ignored. Suggests the creation of an agency or formal partnership to deliver the Action Plan. Concludes the West Lothian Economic Partnership should consider ‘stepping back’ to examine the key issues stemming from these changes.

Author SQW Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Area regeneration
  • Equity
    Sustainable development